The last inner dialogue of old Koskoosh reveals more of his character. He shares his love and respect for his son when he describes him as steadfast and strong. He is touched by his son`s desire to stay for a while, suggesting that Old Koskoosh was a loving father. Old Koskoosh remembers his father and how “he left his own father one winter in the upper Klondike, the winter before the missionary came with his audiobooks and medicine box.” The use of the word “abandoned” suggests that Old Koskoosh may have regretted leaving his father behind. He thinks with frustration of his granddaughter and that “she has always been a careless child and has not honored her ancestors since the beaver, the son of Zing-ha`s son, first saw her.” He remembers a time when he, too, cared less about tradition and did not understand the law of life. In the end, he is grateful for the wisdom he possesses now. Death is presented as a hungry but patient character. Death is wise, not greedy. It is not an enemy of the living.
Old Koskoosh accepts and respects death as well as life. Death is in the shadows behind the fire and approaches the cold and predators. Old Koskoosh is aware of the presence of death, but he distracts himself with memories and thoughts about the meaning of life. He strives to respect death and not to oppose it. Old Koskoosh is immersed in thoughts about the meaning of life. He knows that the end is the same for everyone. The tribe of ancient Koskoosh is a very ancient tribe that promotes the obedience of its members. However, their resting places are mostly forgotten. Those that have gone before him are only “episodes” in a much larger story.
The task that nature assigns to everyone is to survive. An attractive and strong girl will attract a partner. She will have children, work hard as a mother and wife, and disappear in her beauty and power. Eventually, their task will be accomplished. Old Koskoosh as narrator reflects on how this is the law and this also applies to animals of all sizes. In Jack London`s The Law of Life, we focus on acceptance, mortality, connection, tradition, loneliness, struggle and selfishness. Told in the third person by an anonymous narrator, the reader realizes after reading the story that London could explore the question of acceptance. Koskoosh seems to accept the fact that he is going to die.
He has been abandoned by his tribe because he is old and unable to keep up with them. On the contrary, Koskoosh seems to accept that with age comes decline and as such, he must distance himself from others, just like his ancestors. Koskoosh`s memories of those who came before him and his memory when it comes to Zing-ha may also be important, as it is possible that Koskoosh is fully aware that he has a connection to his past. Zing-ha is also an important figure, as he could symbolize youth and fertility for Koskoosh. Both were young men when they hunted moose and succeeded. Today, Koskoosh`s hunting days are behind him and he has to fend for himself. On the contrary, the trigger for Koskoosh`s memories could be the fact that he is alone and knows he is going to die. Although he is close to death, he always tries to make a connection with life, even if he feels that life does not necessarily care about him. Old Koskoosh remembers the days when he hunted with his childhood friend Zing-ha. Zing-ha lost his life when he fell through an air hole on the Yukon River. They had found a new trail of moose as well as traces of wolves.
The boys decided that the moose must be too old to keep up with the herd, and its fate was sealed. Old Koskoosh and Zing-ha understood that the wolves would eventually kill the moose, and they wanted to witness the murder. They followed the moose and finally stumbled upon the spot where the moose had taken position. There was evidence of a fight between moose and wolves, with blood and footprints everywhere. It was obvious that moose could not be easily shot. A close examination of the scene revealed that the moose stood up more than once during the fight before the wolves killed it. They continued to follow the red trail in front of them and saw that the elk`s crotch was shortening. They spread the branches and saw the end of the battle. The memory of this painting has remained with Old Koskoosh over the years, still alive in his memory. The fire next to which Koskoosh stands could also have symbolic significance, as London could use fire to symbolize life.
When the fire is lit, Koskoosh is alive and once extinguished, it dies. It is also interesting to note that Koskoosh`s son is willing to let his father die. Interesting because it follows the traditions of the tribe. Instead of an individual being a burden to the tribe. They are thrown aside to die. Let the cycle of life continue. Perhaps this is the role played by Koskoosh`s granddaughter. She belongs to a new generation and Koskoosh doesn`t like her. He thinks she is negligent because she only transported a limited amount of firewood to Koskoosh. On the contrary, Koskoosh might consider them selfish. Although he himself is guilty of selfishness after following the traditions of the tribe when he was chief and allowed others to be abandoned and take care of themselves. Interestingly, memory is used throughout history to show the cycle of life and death and the rise and fall of human wealth.
When Koskoosh thinks about his past, he realizes that nothing that happens to him now is new and will happen to many others in the future. The overall thematic struggle of history takes place between life and death, symbolized by a multitude of motifs in history. Dry nature is a harbinger of death, while fire is the possibility of life; Similarly, the wolf pack is a messenger of death, while the last heroic battle of the moose and the last attempts of Koskoosh are indicators of the preciousness of life; the movement seen in other members is the desire to earn a living, while the stagnation that Koskoosh is doomed to be the prequel to death. Finally, death triumphs, the law of life. Nature is personified several times in history, especially since it explains the law of life. Nature entrusts to each individual the maintenance of life. Every living thing eventually dies, whether or not it successfully completes the task. Each life is considered an “episode” in the history of the earth. Nature is like a mentor who says what needs to be done and cares about the feelings associated with struggles. Nature is in control. Old Koskoosh is spiritually connected to nature.
He understands that he is not in control. He finds comfort in this acceptance in his darkest moments. Old Koskoosh experiences every emotion when he thinks in his stream of consciousness about his life, his loved ones and the current situation he is facing. He seems frustrated with his granddaughter for not paying attention to him. He is moved when his son stands behind to see how he feels and remembers others whose sons did not stay. He shows loneliness when he realizes that he is all alone and imagines what his death will look like. He shows fear as he strains his ears to confirm the howls of approaching wolves. The use of sensory details through his thoughts connects his physical experience to his emotional experience.
The story does not illuminate the process of physical death, but the emotional and spiritual separation of life. He is alone with himself and a variety of emotions. No one expects anything from him. Right now, Old Koskoosh is himself more than ever. London personifies life, death and nature to illustrate Old Koskoosh`s connection to nature. Everyone is a character in the story and influences Old Koskoosh in the same way. However, old Koskoosh is not dissatisfied, because he knows the law of life and his desires. He accepts his fate peacefully and begins to visualize the events of his past. Images of the great famine and times of plenty come to mind. As an experienced person, he looks at nature and finally accepts its individualism.
Old Koskoosh wonders why he should cling to life. He drops the blazing stick in the snow and goes out. He sees the last fight of the old bull moose in his head, lowers his head and accepts his fate because it is the law of life. As Koskoosh keeps remembering his past, he suddenly realizes how much wood he has left for the fire. While trying to keep the fire going, Koskoosh grudgingly thinks that Sit–ha should have collected more wood for his grandfather. He even begins to wonder if there is a chance that his son will come back to take him with him. At this point, however, he senses the presence of other animals near him. They are wolves. He tries to scare some of them with the flaming sticks. The thought of the moose comes to him now. But the fire eventually dies and the wolves approach it.
Koskoosh eventually surrenders to fate, which is the law of life. “The camp must be demolished. The long road waited, while the short day refused to linger. Life called them and the duties of life, not death. And he [Koskoosh] was now very close to death. Then his hand hastily crawled into the forest. She alone stood between him and the eternity that fell upon him. Finally, the measure of his life was a handful. One by one, they went to feed the fire, and so step by step death would crawl on it.
When the top floor gave off its heat, the frost began to strengthen. Old Koskoosh thinks about what it will be like to die.